Mawared, Issue 19
Winter 2012

This is the 19th issue of Mawared. The issue focuses on focuses on minorities and human rights. It also provides a wealth of relevant resources.



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It is imperative that one of the key imperatives for those leading countries into or through periods of transition must be to ensure that constitutions being developed or planned enshrine human rights guarantees that protect all citizens of the country, whatever their race, colour, sex, language, religion, or national or social origin. All persons must be equal before the law and be entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. While it will take much more than new constitutions to prevent human rights violations against minorities, they are guiding instruments that set the standard for subsequent legislative reform.


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There is virtually no country in the world that does not have one or more national or ethnic, religious, linguistic or other minorities. Countries in the Middle East and North Africa are no exception. Despite the presence of various minorities in the region, whether being citizens or migrants immigrants, not adequate laws and policies are in place in many countries of the Middle East and North Africa. It is often the case that in fact some of these minorities are the subject of restrictions and violations of their rights. 


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It may be too alarmist to talk definitively of a catastrophe for minorities in the Middle East and North Africa. In Iraq, the education ministry has agreed to review – with a minority umbrella group - curricula that discriminate against religious and ethnic groups. Egypt’s Morsi has made overtures to women and religious minority groups, and in Libya Amazigh and Tibu have been included in the Transitional National Council. Whether the glass is seen as being half full or half empty, what cannot be doubted is that minorities look to the future with uncertainty as well as hope.
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During Friday prayers on 4 February 2011, Copts—brandishing their tattooed wrists with a cross—protected their Muslim brethren from attack. Two days later, Muslim crowds encircled Coptic Sunday Mass in the square ensuring safety. These images whilst wonderful are not reflective however of underlying religious discrimination against non-Muslim communities in Egypt today. Instead, these images serve to reinforce a series of myths that have long found currency in Egypt and the Arab World.
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Human Rights Friendly Schools are places where human rights are at the heart of the learning experience and present in all key areas of school life. They are inclusive environments where all are encouraged to take part, regardless of status or role, and where cultural diversity is celebrated.


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The public version of the course is divided into 11 topics, each sub-divided into a number of short sections, designed to require not more than three to four hours per week to complete each one (you do not have to complete each topic in one go – you can come back to it if you haven’t time to do it all at once).
You can enroll in this course by logging in as a guest at the link below:

http://tinyurl.com/d2vn9rc
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